New Jersey Stage

Friday, December 2, 2011

Martin Sexton: A Winter Night

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -– Like many of the greatest singer-songwriters, Martin Sexton always had that knack for convincing the listener that he was "singing just to me" — even with a big and soulful voice that seemed born more to testifying from a mountaintop than cooing in a corner cafe.

The downside to that? The devoted listener must learn to share the gifted artist with many thousands of other devotees — a list that includes Dave Matthews (who called Sexton "one of my favorite singers and songwriters"), John Mayer (who branded him "the best live performer I've ever seen"), and a large subset of music press people.

Since emerging from the local Boston scene in the mid-1990s, Martin Sexton has performed for ever-larger crowds, at venues that have ranged from literal streetcorners and the smallest rock clubs, to major theaters and huge festivals like Mile High and Bonnaroo. Together with a rocking new band, the singer also spent much of 2011 touring behind his most recent release, Sugarcoating — including a run of opening dates for Matthews that placed him in front of some of his biggest audiences to date.

When he takes the stage of the Pollak Theatre at Monmouth University on Friday, December 9, Martin Sexton will be dialing it back a notch, to the extent that he'll be leaving the band at home, packing his guitar and his exquisite sense of songcraft, and doing what he perhaps does better than anybody else — delivering "An Intimate Solo Acoustic Performance."

Subtitled A Winter Night, Sexton's 8 p.m. show will find the acclaimed performer purely in his element; making new friends, displaying his awe-inspiring command of the concert dynamic, and turning any hall of any size into a place as intimate as the streetcorners on which he busked for tips at the start of his career.

The intricate skills of the seasoned street performer remain on display in Sexton's solo sets, from the improvised scatting and beatboxing, to the fingerstyle guitar technique and the versatile vocalizing that ranges from a soulful croon and a folkie's conversational storytelling, to a bluesy moan, a heavy metal wail and beyond.

Then of course there are the songs — featured numbers from network TV shows ("Diner"), fan favorites ("Can't Stop Thinking Bout You," "Young and Beautiful"), stripped-down cuts from Sugarcoating — and, maybe best of all, the trademark surprise covers of signature tunes from Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Prince and many others. Like Ray Charles, Sinatra and the very best of the best, Martin Sexton makes the all and everything of music something all his own. Martin Sexton is that good.

While Winter won't officially start for a couple of weeks, Sexton's December 9 appearance will find a warm and comfortable home inside Monmouth University's flagship auditorium, a performance venue that has been justifiably hailed as one of New Jersey's premier theaters for acoustic music. The concert follows recent shows by Nils Lofgren and the Indigo Girls, as well as 2011 dates by folk-rock legend Roger McGuinn, international hitmaker Colin Hay and musically minded movie star Jeff Daniels.

To purchase tickets, or for additional information on the 2011-12 Performing Arts season, please contact the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey presents Holiday event Something Merry This Way Comes

(Madison, NJ) -- Halls are being decked in Madison, NJ for Something Merry This Way Comes , the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's newest addition to an exciting season of productions and special one-night events.  This winter holiday event will take place on Monday, December 12, at 7:30pm at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue in Madison. Tickets are $32 and can be purchased online at www.ShakespeareNJ.org or by phone by calling the Shakespeare Theatre box office at 973-408-5600.

Hearkening back to a time when families read to each other, Something Merry This Way Comes is a cornucopia of sparkling and inspiring holiday tales, songs, and poems read by members of our esteemed company of actors.  "Selling out two years in a row, our Halloween event, Something Wicked This Way Comes, met with such an enthusiastic response that we decided to create a holiday series, adding something merry to ring in the winter," said Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte.  "Something Merry This Way Comes is appropriate for theatre lovers of all ages, and is an antidote for the media blitz and commercial glitz that inundates our lives as we near the holidays."

Directed by Associate Artistic Director Joe Discher (fresh from his critically acclaimed production of To Kill a Mockingbird), this enchanting evening will feature winter songs and beloved stories by such literary stars as O. Henry, Truman Capote, Shel Silverstein, Hans Christian Anderson, and Dr. Seuss, read and performed by a cast of superb actors and musicians.

Tickets for Something Merry This Way Comes are $32 and are now on sale. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call 973-408-5600 or visit www.ShakespeareNJ.org. Something Merry This Way Comes will be performed at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre, 36 Madison Avenue (at Lancaster Road) in Madison.

The acclaimed Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is an independent, professional theatre company located on the Drew University campus. One of the leading Shakespeare theatres in the nation, serving 100,000 adults and children annually, it is New Jersey's only professional theatre company dedicated solely to Shakespeare's canon and other world classics. Through its distinguished productions and education programs, the company strives to illuminate the universal and lasting relevance of the classics for contemporary audiences.

Cape May Stage: Helping to Build a Better Community By Fighting Hunger

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- The spirit of giving continues throughout the holiday season at Cape May Stage's Robert Shackleton Playhouse. In November, Cape May Stage offered patrons holiday discounts on theatre tickets to their recent production of John Logan's RED in exchange for donated food items for the Community Food Closet of Cape May, which serves families in need in Cape May. "Patron generosity has been overwhelming," said Alicia Grasso, Cape May Stage's marketing director. "The Community Food Closet does an outstanding job providing food and support to Cape May families and we're honored to participate in their efforts."

Cape May Stage employees delivered all donated items and contributed funds to the Food Closet just before Thanksgiving.   With terrific results, the Equity theatre company will extend the food drive during "This Wonderful Life," their final production of the 2011 season.  From November 26 through December 31, patrons can bring two non-perishable items to the box office and get a ticket for $15, or bring three items and get a ticket for $10 to see the show.  The Food Closet is specifically requesting laundry detergent, small jars of jelly, small cans of soup, peanut butter, coffee, and boxed pasta. 

"Our patrons have generous hearts.  So, it's no surprise to me that they rallied behind the food drive," said Grasso.   "We're thrilled to keep it going throughout the holiday season."  For further details, please visit capemaystage.org or call (609) 884-1341.

ROWAN DANCERS STAGE 'PROPOSAL' TO PINA BAUSCH

(GLASSBORO, NJ) -– Honoring the impact and inspiration of one of the leading figures in modern dance, director/choreographer and professor Paule Turner stages his original dance theatre work Will You Marry Me, Pina Bausch? at Rowan University as part of the Department of Theatre & Dance season. Performances are December 8 – 11, 2011 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 pm, and Sunday at 3 pm) in Tohill Theatre on the Glassboro campus.

A "cult-like homage depicting the torrid love affair between a poor southern boy and a prolific German woman," Turner's piece mixes movement, music and text as it explores his life-long affinity for Pina Bausch (who he never met) and the work which inspired him as a dancer and choreographer. The production features excerpts of Turner's work that has been inspired by Bausch, while addressing issues of love (and the inability to find it) and forgiveness. Turner describes it as an abstract but visceral piece that includes a "marriage proposal" set to R&B music. 

Bausch (1940-2009) was a German choreographer, performer, teacher and director who earned an international reputation as one of modern dance's greatest innovators. She created work that featured theatricality, absurdist elements and elaborate, unusual sets. The ideas behind these works were often harsh, but reflected the realities of life and frequently were infused with humor. Turner discovered her work while in college and it has been a significant influence on his career ever since.

"It was inspiring to see that she was given permission to be a true artist," Turner notes, adding that Bausch was not concerned with the standard rules and limitations of dance. "She was interested in what moved people."

The all-student cast features Steven Clair of Franklinville, Emily Cortez of Mays Landing, Sam Debonis of Toms River, Sam DeWitt of Woodbury, Dane Eissler of Franklinville, Tyler Garamella of Lindenwold, Joe Grasso of Swedesboro, Brittany Griffiths of Gloucester Township, Jolene Hernandez of Hightstown, Jenna Ings of Rockaway, Claire Kane of Wildwood, Jaried Kimberley of Westville, Andrea Krapevka of North Edison, Allyn Merida of North Bergen, Alexandra Reggi of Hamilton, Andy Spinosi of Haddonfield and Kassi Wilson of Somerville..

Tohill Theatre is located in Bunce Hall on the campus of Rowan University, Route 322 in Glassboro, NJ. Tickets are $10, general admission; and $5 for seniors, non-Rowan students and Rowan alumni. Tickets for Rowan students and staff are free with valid ID. For reservations and information, visit rowan.tix.com or call the box office at (856) 256-4545.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD BREAKS BOX OFFICE RECORDS FOR THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE OF NEW JERSEY

(Madison, NJ) -– Despite a snowstorm that forced the cancellation of two performances, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey's acclaimed production of To Kill A Mockingbird, which played its final performance on November 20, broke all-time box-office records, the Theatre announced today.  More than 12,500 subscribers, single ticket buyers and students filled the 308-seat F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre to see the stage adaptation of Harper Lee's beloved novel, surpassing the Theatre's 2004 production of Macbeth to become the new record-holder.

"We knew this production would resonate with our audiences and teachers, but it certainly surpassed our expectations," said Artistic Director Bonnie J. Monte.  "We are thrilled that so many students were able to attend To Kill A Mockingbird and experience the extraordinary power of the story."  Nearly 2,700 students from 46 schools as far away as Lacey Township in Lanoka Harbor, NJ and South Orangetown Middle School in Blauvelt, NY attended the nine special school-time matinees held during the run of the production.  

To Kill A Mockingbird also became the new record-holder for most individual tickets sold – a record previously held by the 2007 production of Neil Bartlett's A Christmas Carol.   More than one-third of all public performances of the critically acclaimed production were at standing room only capacity.

Directed by Associate Artistic Director Joseph Discher, the production featured a cast of 20 including Brent Harris as Atticus Finch, and Westfield's Emmanuelle Nadeau as Scout Finch.  During the run, Mary Badham, the actress who played Scout Finch in the award-winning film starring Gregory Peck, appeared at The Shakespeare Theatre for two special talks about her experiences.   "We set out to create an event with this production," said Ms. Monte, "and the response from the audience, our subscribers, and the students was extraordinary.  We welcomed many new people into our theatre and we look forward to seeing them again!"    

The Shakespeare Theatre's 2011 Season concludes with Neil Bartlett's A Christmas Carol which begins performances on December 1 and continues through January 1.  This unique and ingenious production features a cast of eleven actors playing more than 50 roles, including some of literature's most beloved characters. Bartlett's A Christmas Carol contains only Dickens' own words.  "I wanted to do it using Dickens' words, and nothing but," wrote Bartlett.  "Dickens himself prompted this decision; after all, he wrote the story not just to be read, but to be read out loud for an audience.   His words don't describe; they enact."    In addition, Bartlett has included spoken and sung Victorian carols delivered a cappella throughout the play.

"I hope everyone gets their tickets soon, before we sell out!," suggests Ms. Monte.

George Street Playhouse Invites Patrons To Sample and Shop for Holiday Wines and Spirits AND Take an Exclusive Backstage Tour

(New Brunswick, NJ) – Looking for that special something for that special someone, friend or colleague?  Mark your calendars for George Street Playhouse's Benefit Wine Tasting on Thursday, December 8.  The event, which begins at 7pm, is presented in collaboration with Marketplace Wine and Spirits of East Brunswick.  Sumptuous food and myriad wines and spirits are expected to be on the menu.  Patrons may sample what intrigues them, and place orders for their purchases (due to liquor law restrictions, actual bottles may not be purchased at the event).  In addition, members of the Playhouse staff will be on hand to give those attending a special backstage peek at the set for their holiday mainstage production The Nutcracker and I, a hilarious spoof of the holiday classic written by Emmy winner Peter Brash and Forbidden Broadway's Gerard Alessandrini.

Tickets are priced at $75 for this very special holiday event, are on sale now and available through the George Street Playhouse Box Office 732-246-7717, or online at www.GSPonline.org.   George Street Playhouse is located at 9 Livingston Avenue in the heart of New Brunswick's Dining and Entertainment District, and is easily accessible by public transportation.

Under the leadership of Artistic Director David Saint, George Street Playhouse has become a nationally recognized theatre, presenting an acclaimed mainstage season while providing an artistic home for established and emerging theatre artists.  In August 2011, the Playhouse appointed noted arts administrator Norma Kaplan Managing Director.  Founded in 1974, the Playhouse has been well represented by numerous productions both on and off-Broadway – recent productions include the Outer Critics' Circle Best Musical Award-winner The Toxic Avenger, the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and Drama League nominated production of The Spitfire Grill and the Broadway hit and Tony® and Pulitzer Prize winning play Proof by David Auburn, which was developed at GSP during the 1999 Next Stage Series of new plays.  In addition to its mainstage season, GSP's Educational Touring Theatre features issue-oriented productions that are seen by more than 40,000 students annually.   George Street Playhouse programming is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by its lead season sponsor Johnson & Johnson.

Meenan teams with Monmouth to 'Deck the Halls' with Wows 'n Follies

(WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ) -– He was an accomplished theatrical pro when he was barely out of his teens — not just a legend in his native Monmouth County, but a Broadway veteran of such smash hits as "A Chorus Line" and "42nd Street."

Still, David J.V. Meenan didn't stop at being an actor, a singer and a dancer — he was also a writer, a director, a producer and an impresario who operated his own playhouse in Red Bank. As an executive at the Count Basie Theatre, he presented the world premiere of his original musical Transatlantic — and in 1996, he hoofed his way into the Guinness Book of World Records as the global champion of long-distance tap dancing.

If David Meenan seemed to vanish from show business at the dawn of the new millennium, it was merely due to the re-channeling of his energies into a new and fruitful endeavor —with The Pampered Chef, for whom the singing "Broadway Chef" became the top salesperson on the planet.

When that showbiz bug bites, however, it's not so easily swatted away — and in December of 2009, the legend emerged from self-imposed retirement to produce and direct his own large-scale adaptation of the Dickens chestnut A Christmas Carol — with his venue of choice the Pollak Theatre on the West Long Branch campus of Monmouth University.

The partnership with the Center for the Arts at Monmouth was such a happy one that Meenan himself tapped onto the stage once more in February 2011, for the benefit revue Sing Sing Sing — and on the afternoon of December 11, David J.V. Meenan returns to the Pollak with a company of 40 singers, dancers and musicians, in the debut of the never-before-seen holiday extravaganza Deck the Halls!

The first of two Meenan musical productions to be staged at Monmouth University in the 2011-2012 season, Deck the Halls! presents the dynamic star and a formidable troupe of friends in a revue that offers a fresh look at many of the most beloved holiday standards — with colorful costumes and the live Royale Orchestra adding to the festive atmosphere.

Presiding over the show like Santa at his workshop will be Meenan the master entertainer — singing, emceeing, and (of course) tapping in a way that suggests the word "retirement" might soon be retired from his vocabulary. With a presentation that recalls the classic holiday stage shows and specials of yesteryear, Deck the Halls! is as timeless as the spirit of the season — the kind of family entertainment that never goes out of style.

David J.V. Meenan returns to Monmouth University in March 2012 with the all-new variety revue On Broadway. To purchase tickets for Deck the Halls!, or for additional information on the 2011-12 Performing Arts season, please contact the Monmouth University Performing Arts Box Office at 732-263-6889, or online at www.monmouth.edu/arts. 

December at the State Theatre

(New Brunswick, NJ) -— State Theatre's December schedule is packed with something for everyone. Early December events include New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, Christ Church Choir, and Coro Lirico in a performance of G.F. Handel's MESSIAH(12/2/11); The Beach Boys Christmas (12/3/11); Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra and The Pied Pipers (12/4/11); Dave Koz & Friends Christmas Tour 2011 (12/7/11); a screening of the opera Don Giovanni captured live in HD from La Scala in Milan (12/8/11); and Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell in Home for the Holidays with New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (12/9/11).

Other December performances include comedian Brian Regan (12/10/11); Steve Solomon in My Mother is Italian, My Father is Jewish & I'm Home for the Holidays (12/11/11); American Repertory Ballet's The Nutcracker (12/17-12/18/11); Grammy® Award-winner Kenny Rogers in an evening of classic Christmas songs and his most famous hits (12/19/11); and a reunion of the three original Irish Tenors accompanied by a 30-piece orchestra (12/21/11). Rounding out the month is the New Year's Eve extravaganza Salute to Vienna, featuring dancers, soloists, and the Strauss Symphony of America (12/31/11).


DECEMBER SHOWS

G.F. Handel's
MESSIAH
(Christmas Portion)
Presented by State Theatre and New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra
Fri, December 2, 2011 at 8pm
Featuring: Christ Church Choir, Coro Lirico, New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra with Conductor John Sheridan, soprano Marvis Martin (Metropolitan Opera, Porgy and Bess), alto Leah Summers (Opera Colorado, Dallas Opera), tenor Jorge Garza (Center City Opera Theater, Connecticut Grand Opera), and baritone Keith Spencer (Carnegie Hall)
Tickets are $32.


The Beach Boys Christmas
Presented by State Theatre and AM Productions
Sat, December 3, 2011 at 8pm
For more than three decades, The Beach Boys have been one of America's most beloved groups, and this Christmas the Boys are back with an evening of their most famous hits and some Christmas favorites. Line-up includes Mike Love (lead vocals), Bruce Johnston (keys, vocals), John Cowsill (drums, vocals), Tim Bonhomme (keys), Randell Kirsch (bass, vocals), Scott Totten (guitars, vocals), and Christian Love (guitars, vocals).Tickets range from $35-75.



Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra & the Pied Pipers in A Christmas Gift
Sun, December 4, 2011 at 3pm
A Christmas Gift features the Pied Pipers backed by the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra in a big band program of holiday songs both old and new. Performed in the style and tradition of the big band era, the show will take the audience back to an era of great music, rich in sound and beautiful harmonies. Tickets range from $32-52.



Dave Koz & Friends Christmas 2011
Wed, December 7, 2011 at 8pm
Dave Koz & Friends Christmas brings together a magical combination of musicians. Joining multi-Grammy® nominee and saxophonist extraordinaire Koz, will be trumpeter/composer/producer Rick Braun, South African singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler, and Dutch saxophone star Candy Dulfer. The foursome will perform hits from their respective catalogues and jam on fresh, lively arrangements of seasonal favorites. Tickets range from $25-72.



Don Giovanni in HD, La Scala
W.A. Mozart
Thu, December 8, 2011 at 7pm
Captured Live at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy
Conducted by Daniel Barenboim
Starring Anna Netrebko and Bryn Terfel
La Scala presents Mozart's classic tale of Don Giovanni, a womanizing nobleman who is dragged down to hell after refusing to change his ways. Popular for its nimble blend of broad comedy, melodrama, and supernatural, anyone can now experience this beloved opera on the big screen. Tickets are $22.



Home for the Holidays with Brian Stokes Mitchell
With New Jersey Symphony Orchestra
Brian Stokes Mitchell, vocalist - Constantine Kitsopoulous, conductor
Masterwork Chorus - Andrew Megill, director
New Jersey Youth Chorus - Patricia Joyce, director
Presented by State Theatre and NJSO
Fri, December 9, 2011 at 8pm
NJSO will perform symphonic holiday classics accompanied by the smooth baritone sounds of film, television, and Tony® Award-winning Broadway star Brian Stokes Mitchell. Tickets range from $20-85.



Brian Regan-Live in Concert
Presented by State Theatre and Live Nation
Sat, December 10, 2011 at 7pm and 9:30pm
Standup comic Brian Regan is living proof that comedians can be family-friendly and funny. The perfect balance of sophisticated writing and physicality, Brian fills theaters nationwide with fervent fans that span generations. Tickets range from $37.50-49.50.



My Mother is Italian, My Father is Jewish & I'm Home for the Holidays
Starring Steve Solomon
Sun, December 11, 2011 at 3pm
Steve Solomon returns to the State Theatre with his latest comedy show. Solomon's hilarious tale of family shenanigans is brought to life with his uncanny ability for impersonations, perfectly timed sound effects, and the crazy characters that drive the story. Tickets range from $34-59.



American Repertory Ballet's
The Nutcracker
Sat, December 17, 2011 at 1pm and 4:30pm
Sun, December 18, 2011 at 1pm and 4:30pm
American Repertory Ballet presents its 49th annual Nutcracker this holiday season. The lush Victorian-era production features Tchaikovsky's magnificent score, performed with a live orchestra, and a cast of over 100 performers directed by Douglas Martin. Tickets range from $32-57.



Kenny Rogers Christmas and Hits
With Special Guest Billy Dean
Mon, December 19, 2011 at 8pm
Grammy® Award-winner Kenny Rogers has delivered hit after hit for more than five decades, covering everything from country and soul to rock and pop. Kenny will entertain audiences with an evening of classic Christmas songs and his most famous hits. Tickets range from $38-150.



The Irish Tenors Christmas Reunion 2011
Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns, Ronan Tynan
Wed, December 21, 2011 at 8pm
One of the most successful touring acts in America ever, The Irish Tenors lineup of Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns, and Ronan Tynan, has been reunited for exclusive dates this December. The group will perform traditional Irish music and classic holiday songs backed by a 30-piece orchestra. Tickets range from $32-97.



Salute to Vienna
New Year's Concert
Sat, December 31, 2011 at 6pm
Featuring The Strauss Symphony of America, Conductor Alexander Steinitz (Vienna), soprano Rebecca Nelsen (Vienna), tenor Thomas Sigwald (Budapest), and dancers from Vienna Imperial Ballet
Salute to Vienna, patterned after Vienna's world famous "Neujahrskonzert," is returning to the State Theatre for a glorious 5th season. Always a festive event, it is performed live by a brilliant cast of over 75 musicians, stellar European singers, and dancers in beautiful costumes. Including Strauss waltzes, polkas and famous Operetta pieces, the group continues a tradition the whole family can enjoy. Tickets range from $47-107.


For tickets or more information, call the State Theatre ticket office at 732-246-SHOW (7469), or visit us online at www.StateTheatreNJ.org. The State Theatre ticket office, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesday 11am to 7pm; Saturday 1pm to 5pm; and at least one hour prior to curtain on performance dates. For information on group outings and discounts, call 732-247-7200, ext. 517. Some additional ticket and transaction fees may apply.

State Theatre, a premier nonprofit venue for the performing arts and entertainment. The theater exists to enrich people's lives, contribute to a vital urban environment, and build future audiences by presenting the finest performing artists and entertainers and fostering lifetime appreciation for the performing arts through education. The State Theatre's programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. The Heldrich is the official hotel of the State Theatre. Magic 98. 3 is the official radio station of the State Theatre. The Star-Ledger is the official newspaper of the State Theatre. United is the official airline of the State Theatre.

ARCO HOLIDAY CONCERT AT KEAN UNIVERSITY'S ENLOW HALL

(Hillside, NJ) -- The Gene and Shelley Enlow Recital Hall at Kean University presents An Arco Ensemble Holiday performance on Saturday, December 10 at 7:30 pm.  Conductor Bruce Hangen conducts New Jersey's virtuoso string chamber orchestra, featuring beloved music of the season.

Mr. Hangen is Artistic Director & Conductor of the Orchestra of Indian Hill, the Greater Boston area's premier professional orchestra. He began his Indian Hill affiliation in the fall 1997 season. He is also Director of Orchestral Activities at The Boston Conservatory and Conductor of The Boston Conservatory Orchestra. A frequent guest conductor of the country's leading orchestras, Mr. Hangen led the Boston Pops in almost 300 performances in the last 30 years, and most recently served as Principal Pops Guest Conductor. He has appeared with the New York Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, Houston Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and Baltimore Symphony, as well as orchestras in New Zealand, Canada, Japan and Taiwan.

Arco Ensemble was formally incorporated on January 27, 2006, the day that the world celebrated the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth.  Such delightful serendipity marked the beginning of a string orchestra dedicated to bringing classical music performances of the highest quality to audiences in northern New Jersey.  Arco presents concerts that appeal to seasoned concert lovers as well as to those who have yet to experience the joy of hearing great music performed live.

Arco Ensemble was founded by violinist Victoria Stewart.  Her concert experience includes solo, chamber music, symphonic, and opera performances across the globe.  While maintaining her position on the Kean University Concert Artist faculty and her busy freelance schedule, Stewart has eagerly embraced the challenge of managing the operations of Arco.

The Arco Ensemble consistently thrills audiences with its dynamic, polished and exciting performances led by world renowned guest conductors.  A.E.'s broad and interesting programming appeals to seasoned concert lovers as well as to those who have yet to experience the joy of hearing great music performed live.  The 2011-12 season marks the sixth season and its third year presenting concert's in Kean University's shining jewel, Enlow Recital Hall.

All tickets to An Arco Ensemble Holiday are $25 and can be purchased by calling Kean Stage Box Office at 908.737.SHOW (7469), online at http://enlowhall.kean.edu , or in person at Kean University's Wilkins Theater Box Office located at 1000 Morris Avenue, Union..  Enlow Recital Hall is located on Kean University's East Campus at 215 North Avenue, Hillside, NJ 07205.

MIKE MONTREY BAND TO RELEASE UNIQUE DOCUMENTARY "INSIDE THE BASKET" RELEASE PARTY DECEMBER 17

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ)-— On the heels of a successful double album release this spring, Mike Montrey Band (The MMB) have teamed with In Focus Productions to produce the illuminating 20-minute documentary, Inside the Basket. The film takes a rare and penetrating look at the world of recording, amidst the evolving landscape of the current music industry. With older structures crumbling and new methods for creation and distribution emerging everyday, Inside the Basket is an intimate look at one band's determination to stay fresh, vital and authentic in a sanitized world that praises swift mediocrity over process and substance.

To record Weaving the Basket, released on April 30 -- The MMB's first studio album since 2008's A Perfect Reality -- the band decided to innovate by getting back to the source: art for art's sake and the visceral experience of music performed in front of an audience. On January 29, The MMB offered the public an opportunity to hear Weaving the Basket recorded live, in two two-hour sessions at intimate Retromedia Studios in Red Bank, N.J. With the live show presented in a recording studio rather than a club, in front a silent audience who influenced the players' spontaneity and showmanship through their presence, a special musical ambience was created, one trumping the isolated production atmosphere of typical recording and overlays.

It was The MMB's gift to their fans. Both showings played to a packed house, and the event was a critical and media darling throughout New Jersey. The In Focus Productions crew was on hand to capture the energy of the experience. Inside the Basket features a selection of live takes from the two sessions, as well as band interviews and raw footage. The documentary will be released online via The MMB's YouTube channel, with an accompanying release party at The Old Bay in New Brunswick on Saturday, December 17. Inside the Basket's celebration will double as a holiday bash, in the very seat of the band's loyal and diverse fanbase.

The MMB are long known as masters of innovation, both musically and in business savvy. With this, their first documentary, they've gathered the potential of several inventive avenues by which hardworking, independent bands might thrive outside of an outmoded, labeldominated system.

Hailing from central New Jersey, enigmatic frontman and lead guitarist Mike Montrey formed the nexus of what would become The MMB in 2008, and it's been a nonstop ride ever since. Members Rob Smith (drums), Anthony "Duke" Duca (bass), Karl Dietel (keyboards), Hayden Wright (tenor sax) and Adam Garnys (alto sax) spin a jazzy, zoukinspired mix of tender, emotive numbers and raucous improvisational tunes, simultaneously appealing to jazz aficionados, the contemplative singer-songwriter milieu and the jamband elite. Montrey's lyrics and vocal stylings are at once playful and reflective, offering, against the collective mastery of his players, a spine-tingling and distinct listening experience. The band's first studio effort, A Perfect Reality, enjoyed a nomination for Top Release of 2008 by the prestigious Asbury Music Awards (AMAs) and debuted at #29 on the Jambands.com radio charts. The single Tin Can was a Relix Magazine Jam Off! selection.

The MMB have been nominated at the AMAs for four years consecutively, where they were also asked to perform in 2010.

The band continues to garner accolades. Saxophonist Hayden Wright has been nominated, for the third consecutive year, for Best Multi-Instrumentalist in the 2012 AMAs. With a stream of successes at their side, The MMB have re-entered the studio to work on new material, and will release a highly anticipated EP and music video in the spring of 2012. It promises to be an exciting 2012 for The MMB!

Inside the Basket was shot and edited by Mike Pinchiaroli at In Focus Productions. Find more information about the December 17 release show and holiday party at www.oldbayrest.com. The MMB's YouTube channel is www.youtube.com/mikemontrey.

Academy Award-Winner Ellen Burstyn to visit Kean University

(UNION, NJ) -– Kean University continues the Premiere Artists series with a visit by Academy Award-winning actress and best-selling author Ellen Burstyn on Monday, December 5.  Premiere Artists is a project of Premiere Stages, the professional Actors' Equity Association theatre in residence at Kean University, produced in partnership with the Kean Department of Theatre.  Premiere Artists features high-profile artists as they visit the Kean University campus to conduct master classes with Kean University students and engage in question and answer sessions with the campus community and local patrons.

The evening begins at 5:15 PM and includes: Open Master Class: Kean BFA Acting Students prepare scenes that they will be performing in their upcoming January Showcase in NYC.  Ellen will critique and discuss the scenes (5:15 pm to 6:15 pm ); Question and Answer Session: Ellen will discuss her career and take questions from the students and patrons in the audience.  Producing Artistic Director John Wooten will moderate. (6:15 to 7:00); Reception (7:00 to 7:30).

Ellen Burstyn's illustrious acting career encompasses film, stage and television.  She became a "triple crown winner" when she won an Emmy for her guest appearance in "Law & Order: SVU" (2009) to add to her Oscar win for "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" (1974) and her Tony Award for "Same Time, Next Year" (1974) on Broadway.  Ellen has been nominated for an Academy Award five other times for "The Last Picture Show" (1972), "The Exorcist" (1973), "Same Time, Next Year," (1979), "Resurrection" (1981), and "Requiem for a Dream" (2000).

Ms. Burstyn's many theater credits include the Broadway productions of "84 Charing Cross Road", "Shirley Valentine" and "Sacrilege".  She received glowing reviews in Stephen Adley Guirgis' play "The Little Flower of East Orange" (2008), directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman at The Public Theater in New York.  Earlier this year, she appeared in London's West End in Lillian Hellman's "The Children's Hour" to rave reviews.

Ellen was the first woman elected president of Actors Equity Association (1982-85), and served as the Artistic Director of the famed Actors Studio, where she studied with the late Lee Strasberg.  She continues to be active there as co-president with Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel.  Academically, Ellen holds four honorary doctorates, including a doctorate from Pace University where she teaches in The Actors Studio M.F.A. program.  Ellen became a national best-selling author with the publication in 2006 of her memoir, "Lessons in Becoming Myself," published by Riverhead Press.  In addition to a continuing and thriving acting career, Ellen is writing a screenplay, as well as planning a book of her photography accompanied by her favorite poetry.

Tickets for the event are free  The event will be held in the University Center Little Theatre, located at Kean University, 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, N.J.  Space is limited.  To reserve tickets, please call 908-737-4092. Premiere Stages offers air-conditioned facilities and free parking. All facilities are fully accessible spaces. Patrons should call for a list of sign-interpreted, audio-described or open-captioned performances. Large print programs are available at all times.  Publications in alternate formats and other assistive services are available with advanced notice. For further information call 908-737-4092, email premiere@kean.edu or visit www.kean.edu/premierestages.

Premiere Stages is made possible in part through funding from The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, The Northfield Bank Foundation, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, and through the generous support of individual patrons.

Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities and East Lynne Theater Company present "Ghosts of Christmas Past" Trolley Rides

"In two days it will be Christmas!" said Old Applejoy to himself. "Can it be that my close-fisted grandson John does not intend to celebrate Christmas! It has been years since he has done so, but now that his niece, Bertha, is in the house, will he dare to pass over it as though it were a common day? I've seen no preparations, heard nothing, smelt nothing. I will go this moment and investigate."

And Old Applejoy, a ghost living in the attic of the old mansion, descended to the lower part of the house in Frank R. Stockton's delightful Christmas ghost tale, "Old Applejoy's Ghost."

This tale is one of two stories that are part of the repertoire of the "Ghosts of Christmas Past" Trolley Rides, co-sponsored by The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts and Humanities (MAC) and the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company. The other ghostly story is based on Mary Wilkins Freeman's "The Twelfth Guest," about a stranger who suddenly appears in time for Christmas dinner. Both have been adapted for storytelling by Gayle Stahlhuth.

Listen to these classic American ghostly tales, told in a dark trolley, while the twinkling lights of the beautifully decorated homes and streets are seen through the windows of the heated vehicle.

The "spirited" thirty-minute rides begin and end at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth. Tickets are only $10 for adults and $7 for children, ages 3-12, and run several nights a week through January 1.

Once again, the main costumed storyteller is Frank Smith, who was the first person to portray Dr. Physick for MAC's tour of the Physick Estate, and has performed for ELTC in William Gillette's "Sherlock Holmes" and for "Tales of the Victorians," ELTC's popular storytelling event on the porches of B&Bs during the summer and fall.

Reservations are strongly suggested and can be made by calling MAC at 884-5404. If tickets are available the day of the tour, they will be sold at the Washington Street Mall Information Booth.

Meanwhile, on the mainstage of ELTC is "Christmas Presents from the Past" based on stories by Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Mary Wilkins Freeman, and O. Henry, adapted and performed by Gayle Stahlhuth on November 25, 26, December 4, 9, and 10 at 8:30pm. The location is The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St., Cape May. Tickets are $25 for general admission; $15 for students; and ages 12 and under are always free. For information or reservations: 884-5898 or on the web at www.eastlynnetheater.org.

PRIME TIME TV GOES LATIN WITH JUAN CALDERON AT KEAN UNIVERSITY

(Union, NJ)  Kean Stage presents Juan Calderon's Cultural Explosion in a performance of Prime Time TV Goes Latin on Saturday, December 10 at 7:30 pm in Kean University's Wilkins Theatre.  In a tribute to some of America's most beloved television shows, the dance performance features re-inventions of TV's most iconic theme songs by adding a Latin twist.  This one-night extravaganza will highlight popular Latin dances including salsa, mambo, cha-cha-cha, Latin jazz and Rueda De Casino.

Cultural Explosion Dance Company has been providing dance instruction and performances for theatres, schools, corporations and private events for over 10 years.  The company dancers have gained worldwide recognition for their uniqueness and creativity in performance, for their patient and entertaining style of instructing, and for their elegant and exciting style of dancing.  Through the success of world-class performances, and dance instruction with a syllabus that serves as a model to dance studios everywhere, the renowned Cultural Explosion Dance Company has become a leader in Latin dance entertainment.  The troupe has produced numerous instructional DVDs which are sold internationally.

Juan Calderon, artistic director, is a renowned instructor of salsa and Latin dance based in New Jersey.  His students have traveled from Italy, China and Portugal to take private lessons with him and he tours the US as well as Italy, England, France, Spain, Canada and Latin America to provide training.  He has choreographed specific salsa routines for the New York Knicks Dancers' halftime show and served as salsa instructor to Dance Theatre of Harlem's ballerinas.

'The Cultural Explosion Dancers are not only instructors and performers," said Calderon, 'but also ambassadors of Latin music, dance and culture.  Our company members understand the cultural and historical importance of the dances and their origins and through extensive research, we're able to educate others on the background of the dances we teach and perform.  We have made it our mission to bring the joy of music, dance and culture to others."

All tickets to Prime Time TV Goes Latin by Juan Calderon's Cultural Explosion are $30 and can be purchased by calling Kean Stage Box Office at 908.737.SHOW (7469), online at www.keanstage.com , or in person at Kean University's Wilkins Theater Box Office, located at 1000 Morris Avenue, Union, NJ.

The Fresh Beat Band Comes to The State Theatre

(New Brunswick, NJ) — AEG Live and State Theatre present The Fresh Beat Band-Live in Concert for two performances on Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 3pm and 6pm. Tickets go on sale to the general public on Friday, November 18, 2011 at 10am. Special $119 VIP Fresh Beat Band party packages are available for both shows. VIP party packages include one ticket in the first 10 rows and a pre-show meet and greet with all of the members of The Fresh Beat Band. Regular tickets range from $19-39.

The Fresh Beat Band, Nickelodeon's popular preschool music group and stars of the hit TV series of the same name, will hit the road in February 2012 for the first time ever on a 15-week nationwide concert tour.  Kiki (Yvette Gonzalez-Nacer), Shout (Thomas Hobson), Marina (Tara Perry), and Twist (Jon Beavers) will perform The Fresh Beat Band hits from seasons one, two, and three of the live-action music series that teaches preschoolers about music appreciation and how to express their feelings through movement, song, and instrumental music.

For tickets or more information, call the State Theatre ticket office at 732-246-SHOW (7469), or visit us online at www.StateTheatreNJ.org. The State Theatre ticket office, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesday 11am to 7pm; Saturday 1pm to 5pm; and at least one hour prior to curtain on performance dates. For information on group outings and discounts, call 732-247-7200, ext. 517. Some additional ticket and transaction fees may apply.

State Theatre, a premier nonprofit venue for the performing arts and entertainment. The theater exists to enrich people's lives, contribute to a vital urban environment, and build future audiences by presenting the finest performing artists and entertainers and fostering lifetime appreciation for the performing arts through education. The State Theatre's programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. The Heldrich is the official hotel of the State Theatre. Magic 98. 3 is the official radio station of the State Theatre. The Star-Ledger is the official newspaper of the State Theatre. United is the official airline of the State Theatre. 

Cape May Stage presents My Shadow and Me

(Cape May, NJ) -- Cape May Stage, as part of its commitment to producing quality original theatre, is proud to announce another world premiere event.  My Shadow and Me, a family-oriented musical written by Bryan Seastrom and Mary Lauren, is a simple story about two friends and Fletcher the Dog, all helping each other achieve their artistic ambitions.  Part of Cape May Stage's Second Stage Series, My Shadow and Me will be performed on Monday, December 5 at 8 p.m. at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse in downtown Cape May.

The story unfolds when Mary finds herself lost backstage in an old Broadway theatre after another harrowing audition.  She finds herself lost both literally and artistically as she tries to find inspiration in the 'crazy life" of show business.  She encounters a charming sheepdog named Fletcher and a troubled former vaudevillian performer both struggling with the changing times and they soon discover that they might be stronger as a team.

My Shadow and Me is a 90-minute world premiere musical review incorporating music, dance, comedy, and puppetry in a fun-filled evening to be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.  Kids will love Fletcher, a warm and fun-loving puppet character that makes his stage debut in this production.  After several years of development, Lauren and Seastrom have created a 2-person show that aims to celebrate show business and inspire and touch the hearts and funny bones of everyone.  It's a magical show for the whole family.

Part of Cape May Stage's Second Stage Series, My Shadow and Me will appear Monday, December 5th at 8 p.m. at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse located at 405 Lafayette Street in downtown Cape May.  Tickets are $20 adults, $10 kids.  Call (609) 884-1341 for reservations and information or visit the theatre's website, www.capemaystage.org.

Cape May Stage's Second Stage Series is presented through the gracious support of Chris and Dave Clemans.

Skyline Offers New Take On "Carol"

(Bergen County, NJ) -- Skyline Theatre Company STC's season of classics continues with a new version of Dickens' A Christmas Carol performed in a one man tour de force Saturday December 17th at 2pm at the George Frey Center for Arts and Recreation, 10-10 20th Street in Fair Lawn. This single performance is a part of Skyline's fund raising efforts for this season.

Dustin Charles stars as Dickens and all of his unforgettable characters from the 1843 novella. This new adaptation, by Greg Oliver Bodine, finds Dickens on his 1867 American Reading Tour, which is off to a rough start. Due to an inexplicable loss of his luggage, Dickens regretfully announces that he will be unable to read from his beloved classic, A Christmas Carol. All is not lost, however; Dickens delivers with warmth and humor what he promised: he performs from memory the magical story of Ebenezer Scrooge's journey from miserliness to redemption.  This one-man play is based on the condensed version Dickens himself used on his historic reading tours of the United States.

New York actor Dustin Charles returns to Skyline having starred as Paul in last season's Barefoot in the Park and as Hal in Proof. Most recently he played Richard in Shakespeare's Richard III for Identity Theatre in New York. He has also appeared in Dracula and The 39 Steps (New Stage Theatre), Dial M for Murder (John W. Engeman Theater), Bedroom Farce, and Unnecessary Farce, for which he received a Syracuse Area Live Theatre Award nomination. His film career includes 'Forged" starring Manny Perez, 'Gentleman Jack," and the award–winning indie '...the Making of..."

Enjoy the season with this new version of the wonderful family classic, A Christmas Carol on December 17th at 2:00 pm at the George Frey Center for Arts and Recreation, 10-10 20th Street in Fair Lawn. Tickets are $28 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $18 for students.  For ticket reservations or for more information about Skyline please call 1-800-474-1299.

State Theatre Announces Students Meet The Arts

(New Brunswick, NJ)—State Theatre announces the launch of the Students Meet The Arts program. With Students Meet The Arts, students can attend many State Theatre classical music and dance programs, including both live performances and HD broadcasts, for only $8 per ticket.* The Students Meet The Arts program has been made possible by the generous support of the Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation.

"As a nonprofit organization, an integral part of the State Theatre's mission is to develop future audiences for the classical arts as well as entertainment. By reducing ticket prices, we are ensuring that our classical arts events are accessible to children and young adults and that we build a strong cultural environment in our community," recently said Mark W. Jones, State Theatre President & CEO.



STUDENTS MEET THE ARTS EVENTS FOR:


LIVE ORCHESTRA

Hamburg Symphony
Jeffrey Tate, chief conductor
Guy Braunstein, violin soloist
Wed, January 18, 2012 at 8pm
Works of Vaughn Williams, Johannes Brahms, and Ludwig Van Beethoven.

"Tschaikowski"
St. Petersburg State Orchestra
Roman Leontiev, music director & chief conductor
Alexandre Pirojenko, piano soloist
Sun, February 12, 2012 at 3pm
Works of Maurice Ravel, Fryderyk Chopin, and Sergei Prokofiev.


Dresden Philharmonic
Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, principal conductor
Gautier Capuçon, cello soloist
Fri, March 9, 2012 at 8pm
Works of Carl Maria Von Weber, Antonin Dvorák, and Ludwig Van Beethoven.


LIVE DANCE

Cinderella
Moscow Festival Ballet
Fri, April 6, 2012 at 8pm



OPERA IN CINEMA
Aida, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Giuseppe Verdi
Wed, November 16, 2011 at 7pm
Captured Live at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, Italy
Conducted by Zubin Mehta
Starring Roberto Tagliavini, Luciana D'Intino, Hui He, and Marco Berti
Pre-Performance Insight with Opera New Jersey's General Manager Richard Russell: 6:30pm


Don Giovanni, La Scala
W.A. Mozart
Thu, December 8, 2011 at 7pm
Captured Live at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy
Conducted by Daniel Barenboim
Starring Anna Netrebko and Bryn Terfel
Pre-Performance Insight with Opera New Jersey's General Manager Richard Russell: 6:30pm at the State Theatre.


Cendrillon, The Royal Opera
Jules Massenet
Sun, January 8, 2012 at 2pm
Captured Live at the Royal Opera House in London, England
Starring Joyce DiDonato, Alice Coote and Eglise Guttiérez
Pre-Performance Insight with Opera New Jersey's General Manager Richard Russell: 1:30pm at the State Theatre.


Il Trittico, The Royal Opera
Giacomo Puccini
Thu, February 2, 2012 at 7pm
Captured Live at the Royal Opera House in London, England
Starring Lucio Gallo, Eva-Maria Westbroek, Anja Harteros, Anna Larsson, and Elena Zilio
Pre-Performance Insight with Opera New Jersey's General Manager Richard Russell: 6:30pm at the State Theatre.


La Bohème, Liceu
Giacomo Puccini
Wed, March 14, 2012 at 7pm
Captured Live at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain
Starring Ramón Vargas and Fiorenza Cedolins
Pre-Performance Insight with Opera New Jersey's General Manager Richard Russell: 6:30pm at the State Theatre.


Rigoletto, The Royal Opera
Giuseppe Verdi
Sun, April 22, 2012 at 2pm
Captured Live at the Royal Opera House in London, England
Directed by David McVicar
Starring Dimitri Plantanias, Ekaterina Siurina, Vittorio Grigolo, and Christine Rice
Pre-Performance Insight with Opera New Jersey's General Manager Richard Russell: 1:30pm at the State Theatre.



BALLET IN CINEMA
The Sleeping Beauty, Bolshoi Ballet
Wed, November 30, 2011 at 7pm
Captured Live at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia
Choreographed by Yuri Grigorovich (1973) after Marius Petipa
Pre-Performance Insight with Princeton Ballet School's School Director Mary Pat Robertson: 6:30pm at the State Theatre.



Swan Lake, Bolshoi Ballet
Sun, January 15, 2012 at 2pm
Captured Live at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia
Starring Mariya Aleksandrova and Nicolai Tsiskaridze
Pre-Performance Insight with American Repertory Ballet's Company Director Douglas Martin: 1:30pm at the State Theatre.


Coppélia, Bolshoi Ballet
Wed, February 22, 2012 at 7pm
Captured Live at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia
Original Choreography by Marius Petipa, recreated by Sergei Vikharev
Composed by Leo Delibes
Starring Viacheslav Lopatin and Natalia Osipova
Pre-Performance Insight with Princeton Ballet School's School Director Mary Pat Robertson: 6:30pm at the State Theatre.


Romeo and Juliet, The Royal Ballet
Wed, May 16, 2012 at 7pm
Captured Live at the Royal Opera House in London, England
Choreographed by Kenneth MacMillan


La Fille Mal Gardée, The Royal Ballet
Wed, June 13, 2012 at 7pm
Captured Live at the Royal Opera House in London, England
Choreographed by Frederick Ashton
Pre-Performance Insight with American Repertory Ballet's Company Director Douglas Martin: 1:30pm at the State Theatre.



*Students Meet The Arts Discount Terms: $8 Students Meet The Arts tickets are valid for students only. Offer valid for listed shows, in all sections for phone and window sales (not available online). Discount is not retroactive and cannot be combined. A $3 per ticket facility fee will apply.  Valid student ID required for college students for walk up sales. Additional fees may apply to phone orders.

For tickets or more information, call the State Theatre ticket office at 732-246-SHOW (7469), or visit us online at www.StateTheatreNJ.org. The State Theatre ticket office, located at 15 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick NJ, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesday 11am to 7pm; Saturday 1pm to 5pm; and at least one hour prior to curtain on performance dates. For information on group outings and discounts, call 732-247-7200, ext. 517.

State Theatre, a premier nonprofit venue for the performing arts and entertainment. The theater exists to enrich people's lives, contribute to a vital urban environment, and build future audiences by presenting the finest performing artists and entertainers and fostering lifetime appreciation for the performing arts through education. The State Theatre's programs are made possible, in part, by funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. The Heldrich is the official hotel of the State Theatre. Magic 98. 3 is the official radio station of the State Theatre. The Star-Ledger is the official newspaper of the State Theatre. United is the official airline of the State Theatre.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Colie Brice and the New Age Blues Experience Debuts on New Google Music Service

(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- In conjunction with cyber monday, AERIA Records is offering a FREE download of "Slaying the Dragon" a new live recording by Colie Brice and the New Age Blues Experience is resonating well in Google's new music Android Market. The track appears along side the Dave Matthews Band, Warren Haynes, Ben Harper, and the Grateful Dead among other bands as a mover and shaker in the Jam Rock category.

The band was recently nominated as the Top Avant-Garde Act in the 2011 Asbury Park Music Awards and will appear at their annual Holidaze extravaganza 12/28/11 at the Saint in Asbury Park - a legendary local venue for original live music also based in Asbury Park, NJ.

The band features Colie Brice on lead vocals, keyboards and guitar, Alan Gowa on lead guitar and guitar synth, Jay Walker on bass, and Joe Savio on drums.

For more information and a free download go to: https://market.android.com/details?cat=JAM_ROCK&id=music_movers_shakers

For more information on Colie Brice, visit http://coliebrice.com

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

$30,000 AWARDED TO THE HISTORIC STRAND THEATER, STRAND VENTURES, INC.

(LAKEWOOD, NJ) – Strand Ventures, Inc., a qualified non-profit arts and cultural organization that manages the daily operations of the historic Strand Theater, also known as the Strand Center for the Arts has been awarded $30,000 by the OceanFirst Foundation of Toms River that will support operations of the Strand; a premier arts, cultural and historical destination delivering high quality entertainment, arts education and cultural programs throughout the Central New Jersey Region, especially serving populations in both Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

Founded in 1996, OceanFirst Foundation is the first foundation in the nation to be established by a bank as a part of an initial public offering.  OceanFirst Foundation has contributed nearly $22 million to over 600 local charities in Ocean, Monmouth and Middlesex counties since its inception. Its four priorities include Housing, Health and Wellness, Improving the Quality of Life, and Youth Development and Education. For more information about OceanFirst Foundation and the Arts & Cultural Grant Program, visit www.oceanfirstfdn.org or call 732-341-4676.

The historic Strand Theater, located at 400 Clifton Ave. in Lakewood, was designed by world-renowned theater architect Thomas Lamb in 1922 and is listed on the N.J. and National Register of Historic Places. The Lakewood Development Corporation (LDC) purchased the Strand in 1999. A program of capital improvements by the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) provided the funding, at no cost to the taxpayers, for the construction, renovation and restoration of the theater, inside and outside.

Today the Strand Theater is considered an anchor in the downtown for creating economic growth, providing incentives for job creation, and attracting pedestrian traffic. The Strand offers year-round entertainment in plush, air-conditioned surroundings. It is a perfect venue to showcase comedians, musicals, dinner theater, stars from television and movies, and legendary musical entertainers. The reception gallery includes a catering facility for 250 people, a dance floor, and restrooms. It is ideal for theater-in-the-round, smaller events and receptions.

The Strand relies on the support of Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Township of Lakewood, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority; and the LDC and the UEZ programs along with many businesses, organizations, and individuals.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kevin Smith: Live From Behind to Be Broadcast From the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto to Participating Movie Theatres Across North America


(TORONTO, ONTARIO)-- AK27 Productions and Cineplex Entertainment, via their Front Row Centre Events, present Kevin Smith: Live From Behind featuring Jay & Silent Bob Grow Old, an interactive event hosted by Kevin Smith on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 9.30 p.m. EST. Live from the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto, the event will be broadcast via satellite to more than 70 movie theatres in Canada and 500 movie theatres in the United States.

The event will be split into two seamless segments, starting with Kevin introducing fellow actor and long-time friend Jason "Jay" Mewes. The two will host their highly rated podcast Jay & Silent Bob Get Old. The second half of the event will be a Q&A session with Kevin as he answers questions from the live theatre audience and from fans via Twitter. This will be the first Kevin Smith Q&A broadcast in North America where Kevin interacts with the live theatre audience and his fans on social media simultaneously.

Tickets for Kevin Smith: Live From Behind go on sale Wednesday, November 23rd for SCENE members and to the general public on Friday, December 2, 2011. The SCENE program is free to join, to enroll visit www.scene.ca . Tickets can be purchased at participating theatre box offices and online at www.cineplex.com/events or their mobile site m.cineplex.com.

Kevin Smith is a screenwriter, actor, film producer and director as well as a popular comic book writer, author, comedian/raconteur, and Internet radio personality best recognized by viewers as Silent Bob. He is most famous for his cult film catalogue including Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, Clerks II, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and his newest film Red State, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

Smith also sports three DVD releases of his various college Q&A's (An Evening With Kevin Smith, An Evening With Kevin Smith 2: Evening Harder, A Threevening with Kevin Smith, as well as an EPIX Original Q&A special Kevin Smith: Too Fat For 40. Kevin has also published two books full of essays and blog postings (Silent Bob Speaks and the New York Times Best Selling My Boring Ass Life), as well as Shootin' the Sh-t with Kevin Smith - a collection of the best material from SModcast, Smith and producer Scott Mosier's weekly podcast. www.smodcast.com .

Thursday, November 17, 2011

OLD TIME HOLIDAYS MEETS NEW TIME REALTIES IN NOTHING FOR CHRISTMAS

(RED BANK, NJ) -- The holidays are more and more these days about did you get the latest gadget or the most expensive gift. But for some with the current economy they are stressed out and doing with less and less. Highway 50 Films new film Nothing For Christmas takes hard look at how people such times survive their financial struggles and how the communities rally around their neighbors.  Nothing For Christmas will be featured at Clearview Arts Cinema, 36 White Street in Red Bank on December 1st, 2011 at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. 

"What I love about this film is it about old time community, where people rally around their family and friends when times get tough," said Stewart Schneck, who plays the beloved rabbi who mentors Betsy Perry, a troubled teen that hates the holidays and vandalizes Christmas decorations.

Betsy Perry is played by Mackenzie English, formerly of Monmouth Beach, currently of Los Angeles. She started her career as a child actress on the set of Saturday Night Live working along the likes of the Adam Sandler, the late Chris Farley and Will Farell. More recently she gained critical acclaim in the Los Angeles Times for her role as Zoe in the play To The New Girl.

"It saddens me that Christmas and Hanukah are no longer about giving anymore, but it has become about what can you do for me or what's in it for me," Said English. "It needs to be more about faith, family, friendship."

She added that the strength of this film is the deep friendship between the rabbi and his catholic friend Betsy.

Schneck agreed.

"This film goes against stereotypes and shows that both faiths have so much more in common," He added.

"Rabbi Yamowitz is a man that's goal in life is to heal the World; he deeply senses other needs and desires to heal those suffering and make them whole," Scheck said. "He loves the Perry's, they are his friends and neighbors that, he has shared many years with through good times and bad."

The struggles the Perry face are embodied in Jerry Perry, Betsy's father, play by Brian M. Wixson, Who appeared in What Happens In Vegas as featured Trumpet Player and also in the Garden State Film Festival feature film The Yard.

"Jerry is everyman, he is your father, your friend, who has lost his job in the ever shrinking hardware business," Wixson said.

He added that his value as a man is challenged. And when he can't pay his mortgage and loses everything, he fears his family and community will give up on him.

"People out there right now can relate to this story, they are losing their jobs, their life savings and just want that happy Wonderful Life ending to save them for all their hardship," Wixson said.

One of the members of the community that has a simpatico with the rabbi is Has Orton a decorated war veteran that has turrets syndrome, and has deep empathy for the family.

Orton, played by Bob Cleary of Wanamassa, who started his career 35 years ago at Brookdale Community College and has is featured in commercial for B&H Photo, feels his character like the rabbi, feels the Perry's pain during the holidays.

"Hans has enormous empathy for this formerly employee that now is being evicted from his home and can't even afford simple needs such as food for his family," Cleary said.

This also Cleary 5th film working with director Sean Guess of Guess Films and his first with David Pirrocco of Highway 50 Films and Jacked Cat Productions. Pirrocco who has worked with Keith Richards, Cyndi Lauper and Jon Bon Jovi, hopes to continue to raise the productions of the films. And both he and Guess will work again on the 6th film Asbury Park U.S.A.; that has added  Producer Paul Sacco, who works with the likes of James Cameron and Martin Scorsese.

They will even roll a new trailer for Asbury Park, U.S.A. on the night of the Nothing For Christmas showing.

Tickets can be mail ordered by calling 732 216-1977 or e-mailing smguess@aol.com . Tickets can also be purchased at the theater. First come first served and no refunds.

A VERY SPECIAL (Holiday) SPECIAL 2011 AT DREAMCATCHER

(SOUTH ORANGE, NJ) -- Kick off the holiday season with the Dreamcatcher Company with their annual irreverent spoof of the holiday specials of yesteryear.  If you enjoyed the corny fun of those old-fashioned holiday variety shows starring Donny and Marie, Perry Como and The Mandrell Sisters, you'll love A VERY SPECIAL (Holiday) SPECIAL at Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre on Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3 at 8:00 p.m.  Located in the intimate third-floor theatre at The Baird Center at 5 Mead Street in South Orange, Dreamcatcher takes a break from their mainstage schedule to perform their affectionate send-up of traditional holiday entertainment.

The Dreamcatcher Resident Acting Company will entertain with holiday songs, comic sketches and improv, and lots of good old-fashioned fun.  Each year's show is original; past years' performances included a Rockettes-style production number, take-offs on current reality shows and a post-holiday scene at the returns counter of a department store.  This year's show will include musical spoofs, topical sketches, and unique silliness.  Performing in the show are Dreamcatcher Company members Nicole Callender, Harry Patrick Christian, Laura Ekstrand, Noreen Farley, Dave Maulbeck, Scott McGowan, and Jessica O'Hara-Baker.

A VERY SPECIAL (Holiday) SPECIAL, a unique and hilarious way to celebrate the holiday season, will take place at Dreamcatcher on Friday and Saturday, December 2 & 3 at 8:00 p.m.  All tickets are $20.00, and can be purchased in advance at www.dreamcatcherrep.org, or by calling Brown Paper Tickets at 800-838-3006.  The performance is at The Baird, located at 5 Mead Street in Meadowland Park, a few blocks from the center of downtown South Orange.  For information and tickets for any of Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre's programs, please contact Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre at The Baird, 5 Mead Street, South Orange, NJ 07079, 973-378-7754, ext. 2228, www.DreamcatcherRep.org.

Songwriters by the Sea – Holiday Edition

(Lakewood, NJ) – The historic STRAND Center for the Arts presents Songwriters by the Sea – Holiday Edition, sponsored by 90.5 The Night on Saturday, December 17 at 8pm.  Musical legends Marshall Crenshaw, Willie Nile and Rhett Miller, join our hosts Joe D'Urso and Joe Rapolla to headline our first Songwriters by the Sea - Holiday Edition!  Expect an evening of holiday cheer as the artists share their favorite holiday songs and stories, as well as their greatest hits.


Opening the show will be local favorite Emily Grove, North Jersey's Denny Tilton and up and coming songwriter Chris Gruen. 

Please bring a toy or food donation as 90.5 The Night and the Strand will be collecting for local food banks and children's charities.

Tickets are $29.  Make your ticket reservations online at www.strand.org or call 732-730-5925.  The STRAND box office, 732 – 367 - 7789, is open on Thursday and Friday, between 12 pm and 5 pm and 3 hours before each show. The Strand Theater is located at 400 Clifton Avenue in Lakewood, NJ.

East Lynne Theater presents "Christmas Presents from the Past"

(CAPE MAY, NJ) -- "One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all.  And sixty-seven cents of it was in pennies.  Pennies saved one and two at a time. Three times Della counted it.  And the next day would be Christmas."

    Thus begins one of the most famous Christmas stories of all time, “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry (1862-1910). Della wants to purchase the perfect present for her husband, but can she do it with only one dollar and eighty-seven cents? 

     Presents come in all shapes and sizes, and this holiday season, the award-winning Equity professional East Lynne Theater Company is offering its own "Christmas Presents from the Past," on November 25 and 26, and December 4, 9 and 10 at 8:30p.m. at The First Presbyterian Church, 500 Hughes St. in Cape May, where the company is in residence.

     The theme about presents continues with Mark Twain's (1835-1910) "Susie's Letter from Santa Claus."  Writing to his own daughter as if he were St. Nick himself, Twain strives to be sure that he clearly understands what Susie wants for Christmas, and best to deliver it.

     "The Christmas Masquerade," by Mary Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930) is about a Christmas Eve ball, where every child, rich and poor, are allowed to dress up in any costume they choose. One year, no matter how hard the parents tried to undress their children, the costumes would not be removed.  Will the Mayor’s daughter be forever a shepherdess and the cobbler’s son a prince?  The resolution involves Christmas presents.

     According to "What the Bells Saw and Said" by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888), the spirits of the bells meet at midnight every Christmas Eve to discuss the state of affairs where they ring. Their presents to those listening below, are their own melodic voices – voices which ring for all to have peace, love, and good will for all.             

     These classic tales were adapted by ELTC's artistic director Gayle Stahlhuth who also performs the thirty-some characters in storytelling fashion. Her past solo Christmas performances of stories by L. Frank Baum, Louisa May Alcott, O. Henry, Edward Everett Hale, and Bret Harte have been praised by reviewers and audience alike. With the flick of a wrist, the bend of the waist, the turn of the head, and a change in the tone of voice, she brings a character to life in a heartbeat.

     Gayle is in her thirteenth year as ELTC's artistic director, and as such, has directed over half of the 61 different shows she's produced (not including repeats), including "Why Marry?," the first play to win the Pulitzer Prize, and the time-travel adventure "Berkeley Square." She's appeared in Off-Broadway, regional, touring productions, and on the Chautauqua circuit, and she and her husband, Lee O'Connor reside in West Cape May, NJ and Manhattan.

     Tickets are $25 for general admission, $15 for full-time students, and, as always, anyone age 12 and under is free. For information and reservations, call 609-884-5898 or go online to www.eastlynnetheater.org.

     Meanwhile, learn about a variety of cheeses and support ELTC at "Cheese School," sponsored by Seaside Cheese and Cape May Winery on Monday, December 5 from 7:00-9:00p.m. at the winery, 711 Townbank Rd., North Cape May. Contact ELTC for details.

Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker Comes To The Strand

(Lakewood, NJ) -– The historic STRAND Center for the Arts presents Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker on Wednesday, December 7 at 7:30pm.  Moscow Ballet performs the Great Russian Nutcracker with top Russian dancers in this beloved, family Christmas story.  2011 marks the 19th tour to 60+ North American cities by these impeccably trained Russian dancers.  Performing the Great Russian Nutcracker, the dancers leap, spin, and lunge in their telling of the traditional, family-friendly Christmas story with a Russian flavor. Tickets are $27.50-$102.

Moscow Ballet features top graduates of Perm, Vaganova, Moscow State Academic Choreographic and Kiev schools and is praised by NY Times Chief Dance Critic Alastair Macaulay as, "Expansive…the Russian style is elegantly generous, and so the experience is never meager." 

The company evolved out of the "Glasnost Festival Tour" created by award-winning Juilliard alumnus, composer/conductor and theatrical producer, Akiva Talmi.  Moscow Ballet made its debut in 1993 with an all-star Russian cast in the Great Russian Nutcracker, directed and choreographed by Stanislav Vlasov, a soloist with Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre.  Since then Moscow Ballet has added Cinderella, Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Romeo and Juliet to its repertory.

"Knock-out dancer, thrilling, and elegant" says NY Times of Moscow Ballet; "Aristocratic finesse" comments Cleveland Plain Dealer; Charleston Today raves, "Breathtaking and awe-inspiring;" "Spellbinding and completely fabulous," states San Francisco's Stark Insider; and DC's ionarts.com agrees, "Particularly astounding."

Make your ticket reservations online at www.strand.org or call 732-730-5925.  The STRAND box office, 732 – 367 - 7789, is open on Thursday and Friday, between 12 pm and 5 pm and 3 hours before each show. The Strand Theater is located at 400 Clifton Avenue in Lakewood, NJ.

Cape May Stage Presents Steve Murray's "This Wonderful Life"

(Cape May) –- Cape May Stage officially begins its holiday celebrations at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse at Bank and Lafayette Streets on November 25th with award-winning playwright Steve Murray's "This Wonderful Life"- the visually stunning stage adaptation of the perennially popular holiday film, It's a Wonderful Life. This one-man tour-de-force production offers a new theatrical twist on this beloved holiday tale.

Directed by Artistic Director Roy Steinberg, the virtuosic Larry Daggett (Broadway's Ragtime, Candide, Damn Yankees, Follies, National Tour of Red Hot and Cole) returns to Cape May Stage after appearing as Cosme McMoon in 2009's Souvenir to portray George Bailey, Clarence the Angel, Mary, Old Man Potter, and twenty more of Bedford Falls' finest citizens. "The characters in It's a Wonderful Life run the gamut from the best (George) to the worst (Potter) in each of us," says Daggett.  In this 90-minute performance, Daggett recreates more than two-dozen characters from the film while he also serves as a narrator, offering amusing commentary on the action.

"When working on a piece where you play multiple characters (often having scenes with each other) the actor's mind becomes focused on a myriad of details: what character am I at this moment? What do I sound like? How do I carry myself? Where is my focus?  It's easy to become so inundated by the technical demands of such a role(s) that the actor stops focusing on the story." Daggett notes.  "For me, Steinberg is the perfect director.  He sees the whole picture. He reminds me of large themes and at the same time suggests tiny bits of business, all of which help to clarify the story."

The story unfolds on Christmas Eve when George Bailey fears he's failed his family, his friends and his community, until an angel-in-waiting named Clarence shows him how bleak life would have been if he'd never existed. Those who have enjoyed Capra's film can't forget the image of a man standing alone on a bridge on Christmas Eve...the story of how he got there, and how he found his way back home.

Audience members don't need to be die-hard fans of the film to enjoy this twist on the heartfelt holiday classic.  Daggett notes, "It's a story at the heart of American mythology: any individual with a pure heart can overcome corporate greed. It also reveals the secret to finding happiness: focus on what you have, not on what you lack."

Brimming with hope and humor, This Wonderful Life reminds us of the power of perspective, friendship and family, just in time for the holiday season.

This Wonderful Life opens Friday, November 25th at 8 p.m. Performances are Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays at 3 p.m. through December 31st at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse located at the corner of Bank and Lafayette Streets (405 Lafayette) in downtown Cape May. Tickets are $35 adults, $30 seniors, and $15 students. During the current run Cape May Stage is participating with several Cape May gourmet restaurants in money-saving "Dinner & A Show" package promotions. Call (609) 884-1341 for reservations and information or visit the theatre's website, www.capemaystage.org.  Make this heartwarming family experience a part of your holiday tradition this season.

This Wonderful Life is presented through the gracious support of The Ebbitt Room at the Virginia and The Blue Pig Tavern at Congress Hall. This season's sponsors include 410 Bank Street/Frescos, Exit Zero, CapeSCape, The Corner Cottage Apartments, Harry's Bar & Grille at the Montreal Inn, La Mer Beachfront Inn, Lucky Bones, Cape May Winery, and The Washington Inn.


Pictured: Larry Daggett | photo credit: Aleksey Photography

BROADWAY STAR JIM STANEK HEADLINES 4TH WALL THEATRE FUNDRAISER


(Bloomfield, NJ) –- 4th Wall Theatre, Inc., a non-union professional theatre in residence at the Westminster Arts Center at Bloomfield College, is presenting a fundraiser, "Flop of Ages: GREAT Songs from Bad Shows."  The show is an hour and a half of entertainment, featuring show-stopping numbers from Broadway shows that not only stopped, but flopped.  The one-night-only performance is the centerpiece of 4th Wall's 15th anniversary season fundraising efforts.  The show will feature members of the 4th Wall family of performers, along with a few special guests from the Broadway stage.  The singers will be performing wonderful songs by writers such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, and Rodgers & Hammerstein, to name just a few.  The event will be held at 7:30pm on Monday, December 5, at the Westminster Arts Center on the campus of Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, New Jersey.  The evening will include a live auction and a post-performance reception.

The fundraiser is the concept of Paul Puccio, the group's Dramaturge, and a member of the Board.  Puccio observes "Musicals are so collaborative, and success in the theatre is so much a matter of timing, that many flops either have glorious songs that never found the right home or are actually quite good plays that came along at the wrong moment. It's rare that a theatre company will take the risk and produce a musical that received reviews that bottomed out – but a concert like this one gives us an opportunity to sample some terrific material from plays that may not see the light of day soon or ever again."

Kate Swan, 4th Wall's Artistic Director, will stage the production.  She is joined by musical director, Markus Hauck.  Both Swan and Hauck bring a great deal of experience to the project.   Swan is a Broadway dancer turned director/choreographer, and Hauck is a graduate of Boston Conservatory with numerous regional musical theatre credits.   Of the project, Swan says, "4th Wall, like so many other arts organizations, is finding new ways to raise funds in these challenging economic times.  We think that these one-night-only concert events are a fun way to thank our audiences for their support of our mission, which is to bring under-produced, edgy, and new works to the stage."

4th Wall has assembled an array of talent for "Flop of Ages: GREAT Songs from Bad Shows," including some favorite actors who have appeared on the 4th Wall stage over the group's 15-year history.  In addition, the company has invited a few special guests from the New York stage to join them including Jim Stanek, a well-known performer who has appeared in The Story of My Life, Lestat, Little Women, The Rivals, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum, and Indiscretions on Broadway in addition to numerous regional productions. Broadway performer Mary Stout, whose credits include On the Twentieth Century, Jane Eyre, Beauty and the Beast, My Favorite Year, and Me and My Girl, along with numerous Off-Broadway and regional productions, will also appear.  Stanek and Stout will be joined by Teri Furr, who appeared in Beauty and Beast, Gypsy, and Les Miserables; and Rusty Reynolds from Miss Saigon as well as the Funny Girl Actor's Fund Benefit.

All tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling the Box office at 973-748-9008 ext. 279. Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are accepted.  Tickets may also be purchased online and additional information is available at www.4thwalltheatre.org.

4th Wall's 2011-2012 season continues with The Story of My Life in February of 2012, to be followed by the Broadway hit play Speech & Debate in March.  The group closes the season with the Tony Award-winning musical Parade in June of 2012. 

The Theater Project Presents Its Holiday Gift to Local Audiences with "It's A Wonderful Life – The Radio Play" Saturday, December 3 at Maplewood's Burgdorff Center

(Maplewood, NJ) -- The Theater Project will present its holiday production of New Jersey's own Liz Zazzi's "It's A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play"  for one performance only on Saturday, December 3, 2010 at 3pm. A pre-show singalong begins at 2:45pm.  The performance will take place at the Burgdorff  Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road in Maplewood.  For reservations call The Theater Project at 908-809-8865 or website www.TheTheaterProject.org.

Children attend free of charge, while tickets for adults are available for $15 (suggested donation). If inclement winter weather forces a cancellation, the ‘snow date' will be Sunday, December 4 at 3pm.  The Theater Project's company of local professional actors will recreate the Lux Radio Theater circa 1947 as twelve actors, a musician and one extremely overworked sound technician prepare for the broadcast of the story made famous in the Frank Capra film of the same name. Information is available at www.thetheaterproject.org.

Adapted by New Jersey actress, director and playwright Liz Zazzi, "It's A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play" serves as The Theater Project's annual holiday gift to its loyal audiences.  "Every year, some of our favorite actors come together and donate their time to create this event as our holiday gift to our supportive community," says Mark Spina, Artistic Director of The Theater Project.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Asbury Lanes Hosts Benefit For The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties


(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -- Alex Biese has organized a benefit for the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties to be held on Thursday, December 8 at Asbury Lanes (209 Fourth Avenue, Asbury Park).  The show's lineup includes Alex Biese, Big Wilson River,and Jamie & The Magic Torch.  Doors are at 8pm.  Admission is $10 or $7 with a non-perishable food item.  All artist proceeds will go to the Food Bank.

Alex Biese is a singer-songwriter in the Americana/Folk genre.  In addition to performing, Alex covers music for the Asbury Park Press and was recently nominated for a 2011 Asbury Music Award for Top Music Journalist.  For more information on Alex visit http://www.facebook.com/alexbiesemusic

Big Wilson River is a Bergen County-based roots rock collective that just released a great new album entitled "Octopus" on October 14.  You can hear tracks from the album online at http://bigwilsonriver.bandcamp.com

Jamie & The Magic Torch is the new acoustic project from Jamie Theurich (The O>Matics, Calamity Menagerie).  He calls his style of music "mainstream vegan rock."  you can find out more about Jamie at http://www.facebook.com/JamieAndTheMagicTorch

The FoodBank began in 1984 when three people saw hunger at the Jersey shore and decided to make a difference. They purchased a small, dilapidated warehouse in Spring Lake. Carpenters, masons and other members of the community donated work, office furniture and supplies. Food streamed in from hundreds of donors. After one year, the FoodBank was serving 25 charities with 100,000 pounds of food.

Ten years later, nearly two million pounds of food was being distributed annually from the same small warehouse. Bursting at the seams, the FoodBank undertook a capital campaign in 1998 to construct a new facility in Neptune. Three years later, the current 40,000 sq. ft facility became a reality.

Today, the FoodBank serves over 260 pantries, soup kitchens and other feeding programs with almost 7 million pounds of food distributed annually. The FoodBank also operates a Culinary Training Program for people in need of better-paid jobs, a Kids Café and Backpack program for children, a Mobile Pantry, and Food Stamp Outreach Program. With the help of roughly 1,000 volunteers each year, the FoodBank's programs are truly a community effort, working to eliminate hunger by providing emergency food, skills training, outreach programs and advocacy for families in need.

For more information on the FoodBank visit http://www.foodbankmoc.org

Outside The Box Offers Pair Of Tickets For Performance of "The Last Waltz" As Part Of Community Turkey Drive


(ASBURY PARK, NJ) -– Outside the Box, the Jersey Shore based rock band, will perform The Band's 'The Last Waltz' on its 35th anniversary at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ on Friday, November 25. Tickets are available in advance for $10 at the Stone Pony box office or online at ticketmaster.com and will be $15 day-of-show.

'The Last Waltz', The Band's farewell performance from November 25, 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, was made into one of the most highly regarded rock films of all-time, directed by Martin Scorsese.  The Band, who consisted of Rick Danko, Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Richard Manuel and Robbie Robertson were joined by an all-star group of musicians that night including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Dr. John, Ron Wood, Ronnie Hawkins,The Staples and many more throughout 'The Last Waltz' performance.

Leading up to Thanksgiving, Outside the Box has teamed-up with WindMill Gourmet Fast Food and Sixpoint Craft Ale for a turkey drive supporting the non-profit organization, Move For Hunger.  Each person who brings in a frozen turkey to a participating WindMill restaurant will receive a pair of complimentary tickets to the Outside the Box performance on November 25 as well as a WindMill hot dog. The turkeys that are collected will be donated to Move For Hunger for families of Monmouth County, NJ.

“'The Last Waltz' was the first concert film I ever saw”, said Outside the Box lead singer Jeff Cafone. “Mark (Masefield) and I bonded over the movie before we started OTB in 2004.  We used to act out the performances, interviews, and personality quirks of the guests even before we could perform the music.  It is an honor to be performing 'The Last Waltz' on its 35th Anniversary and pay homage to the band that is largely responsible for the existence of OTB – The Band.”

Outside the Box will open the show with songs off of their debut album, 'Bridge', released in July 2011.

'Bridge' has already received rave reviews:

The Aquarian's John Pfeifer wrote: “While retaining that dirty Jersey vibe, ('Bridge') rocks with the rebellious spirit of Graham Parsons and Elvis Costello.”

The Star Ledger's Jay Lustig wrote:  "Bridge," highlighted by "Love Is the Villain," a song whose driving energy and hint of a snarl reminds me, more than anything else, of early Graham Parker (though you can hear traces of Petty and Costello and Dylan in there as well).”

Chris Rotolo from the Asbury Park Press said: “(Bridge) has monstrous melodies and choruses that will be engrained in the minds and on the tips of tongues of Jersey Shore beach combers for years to come.”

The JerseyBeat.com called 'Bridge': “a winning surplus of raw energy, sturdy musicianship, and positively infectious go-for enthusiasm…a totally kick-ass album”.

Rich Robinson from 90.5 FM “The Night” said: “Some of the most amazing musicians that the Jersey Shore has come out with in a long, long time.”

The album is available on itunes, www.outsidetheboxband.com or at Jack's Music Shoppe in Red Bank, NJ.

Outside the Box (outsidetheboxband.com) has quickly developed into one of New Jersey's most dynamic new original rock bands.  Formed in 2004, band members consist of Jeff Cafone (Guitar, vocals), Mark Masefield (Hammond B3 organ, keyboards), Francis Valentino (Drums), and Ryan Wheeler (Bass).

The band released their debut album 'Bridge', which includes eleven tracks, on July 12, 2011 and was produced by Asbury Juke member Jeff Kazee (Schaeffer Records).

OTB have shared the stage with artists such as Buddy Guy, Blues Traveler, G.E. Smith, Govt Mule, Steven Van Zandt, Jesse Malin, Ryan Cabrera, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Joe Grushecky, The Smithereens, The Fab Faux, Jeffrey Gaines, and many more.